It is completely normal to feel like your baby has changed your relationship with your partner.
When your romantic relationship experiences change it can raise alarm bells.
Of course, deep down we know that life and relationships are transient but we cannot help but feel concerned or confused when our relationship has been threatened in any way.
Change can feel like that threat. When a baby comes along change is an overwhelming given. Introducing a new person to the home as well as a new role for the people in it is massively transforming. Transforming and scary in many ways.
It is important to note that it is completely normal to feel like your baby has changed your relationship with your partner. Pregnancy, giving birth and the adjustment to parenthood is a lot to take in. Aside from the emotional elements of all of this change, there is a huge physical change happening also.
As the woman, you will be experiencing the physical toll from giving birth and as a couple, you will be feeling a whole new level of exhaustion. Sleep deprivation is a very difficult reality and can affect a person’s quality of life day to day.
When it comes to adjusting to sleep deprivation communication is really key. At the same time talking about just about anything feels like homework when you are feeling tired. You are just about getting through the day so the prospect of a deep conversation is infinitely daunting. You’re slurring your words, yawning uncontrollably and taking the term “baby brain” to all new heights.
Communication is really important though. Simply highlighting the challenges can be enough for many couples. It is possible to enjoy the magical moments and still acknowledge the fact that the exhaustion is taking its toll. If anything it may explain why you have been short-tempered or unenthusiastic towards each other. In the long run, it helps to be aware of how the other person is feeling so that you can try to work as a team.
In order to function properly as humans, we need a certain amount of sleep. That is a simple biological fact. If there are ways that you can safely access even a small pocket of sleep it will benefit you hugely. You’ll think clearer, move easier and function better cognitively. The sleeping arrangements in your house could have a really big effect on how you do this.
Many couples find that sleeping in different bedrooms is simply one of the things that work in this department. It might be temporary and it might be a more permanent affair but it is absolutely possible to be a happy couple and sleep in separate bedrooms.
Take night feeds for example. Regardless of whether you are bottle or breastfeeding, there is a certain amount of waking up to be done. Nappies must be changed as well as any winding or aftercare needed. If you have other children to look after the next day it might make more sense for your partner to sleep in a separate room on some of the nights for reasons that will benefit you both.
If your partner sleeps better they will be a lot more valuable in terms of help the next day for example. This could be vital when you need to focus on the baby and allow your partner to focus on the other children or duties around the home. Many couples find that it simply makes more sense to sleep in separate bedrooms to maximise sleep for the entire household.
You may start the night off in the same bedroom but when one child wakes up one of you retreats to another bedroom to settle them and stay there for the night. During those hours you are not thinking about the romantic relationship but rather doing what needs to be done to get by.
When you are sleeping in a separate bed or bedroom than your partner it is important not to panic. Relationships are about so much more than physically being close at night time. There are so many other facets of the relationship that are more important. Communicating openly and honestly and making time for each other for example.
Watching an episode of your favourite TV show or simply being physically affectionate through hand-holding or kissing can be a great way to enjoy being close to each other without it interfering with sleep throughout the night. In fact, you may resent each other less as you work as a team and do what leads to the most family harmony.
It is totally possible to be a happy couple and sleep in separate bedrooms. Relationships are about so much more than what happens in the bedroom. And remember – sometimes you just need to put that creative hat on and think outside the box.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.